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2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s competent mid-sized entry, the X-Trail, into a very crowded SUV sector. It’s a six model range, with ST, ST-L, TS, N-Sport, Ti, and TL…which makes for a slightly confusing way of naming your product from bottom to top. We drive the second from the top Ti.
How Much Does It Cost?: As of mid September 2020 Nissan lists the ST as $28,990, the ST-L from $28,490, and the TS from $40,357. N-Sport starts from $42,876, Ti from $44,490 before topping out at $52,456 for the TL. These prices are drive-away. Premium paints are a $695 option.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L petrol engine for the Ti and TL. Otherwise, for models below, it’s a 2.0L petrol for the manual 2WD ST & TS or 2.0L diesel for all models bar ST-L. Power for the petrol 2.5L is 126kW and maximum torque is 226Nm and at 4,400rpm. Nissan quotes economy as 8.3L per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. Fuel tank size is a standard 60L.
On the Outside It’s: A distinctively styled Nissan family SUV. Grab a picture of both the Qashqai and Pathfinder, enlarge and shrink to the same size as that of a X-Trail, and you’d be genuinely hard pressed at first glance to tell the difference. There’s that signature V grille and LED driving light design up front, the sine wave line from bow to stern, the nicely balanced proportions of bonnet to body, and the arrow-head line for the leading edge of the rear lights. Ti runs 225/55/19 alloys and rubber, with the tyres an all-weather pattern from Bridgestone’s Ecopia range.One of the issues we have with the X-Trail, and it’s by no means alone in this, is the location and size of the headlight indicator lamps. They’re tiny, and buried deep within the middle of the join between the lights and the running lights. There are flashing LEDs in the wing mirror covers however they’re not terribly bright nor easily seen from some angles.

Another niggle is the placement of the button to open the powered tailgate. Most companies logically and sensibly have a tab in the same recess as the number plate. Nissan opted for a separate, and lower in the door, placement. It means a person needs to bend more but also, because it’s not the logical place, more often than not the numberplate recess was reached for first.

On The Inside It’s: A tidier look than the very busy Pathfinder. The centre stack immediately pulls attention due to the far cleaner layout. Nissan include a CD player here and in the X-Trail it sits above the 8.0 inch touchscreen. There are tabs around the outside but underneath is only the aircon control cluster. Tidier it is but still perhaps a little fussy when looking for something quickly. The screen’s layout is dated, terribly dated, and needs an overhaul ASAP.

In contrast, the dash design is a gentle curve and separates driver from passenger nicely as each end runs smoothly into the door trims. The whole cabin ambience is cool without being understated.Audio is DAB equipped, and the usual smartapps apply. Oddly, Nissan have also included links to Google and facebook, and although we didn’t connect to them, we’d hope these only activate when parked. A nice touch in counterpoint was the separate heating circuit for the rear seat, a rare and welcome addition.Leg, head, and shoulder room is better than adequate for four, even with the full length glass roof, but typically a bit squeezy for the second row if looking to get five aboard. Behind the second row is a decent cargo bay with 565L available and increasing to 945L with the second row flattened.There’s are rain-sensing wipers, second row air vents and USBs, plus a 12V socket for the second row passengers.

On The Road It’s: Good enough for most people and this comes from a well sorted driveline combination. Although CVTs do feel as if they sap power and torque, the X-Trail’s pairing is one that doesn’t feel as draining as others. There’s plenty of get up and go, mid-range acceleration is quick enough, and unlike the Pathfinder, when the console mounted drive dial selects 4WD, there’s both a noticeable change and an indicator light on the dash shows 4WD is engaged. There’s the barest hint of torque steer in 2WD but in all wheel drive mode that disappears and there’s a proper sense of weight attached to the rear wheels.It’s a push button Start/Stop system in the Ti. Once the 2.5L is up and spinning, Drive is engaged by a short throw lever, there’s the faintest of clunks, and the accelerator sees the 1,562kg (dry) Ti get underway smoothly. The transmission has the typical CVT wavering at times and is at its best at freeway speeds. That goes for the suspension which is beautifully tuned for more comfort that sporting in the handling, yet and be driven hard without qualms. It damps nicely, initial compliance runs into somewhere between taut and giving, and rarely felt unsettled. Speed-sensitive steering worked the same; there’s lightness when needed, heft when required, and made parking a doddle.

An unexpected feature is the Intelligent Engine Braking system. Downhill runs and the CVT acts as a brake, finding a gear and holding it to ensure no unwanted acceleration. A blip of the throttle overcomes it easily however it mostly needs no human intervention.

What About Safety?: Plenty to like, as expected. Forward Collision Warning and AEB with pedestrian detection but not cyclist. Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Park Assist sensors make the Ti a pretty safe bet.

What About Warranty And Service?: Standard five years and unlimited ks, roadside assist for 24/7 for5 years. Servicing is capped price for the first six and prices can be found by using your vehicle’s VIN.

At The End Of the Drive. The 2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti delivers by doing exactly what is asked of it and doing so without raising an eyebrow. It drives well enough, handles well enough, it’s not unattractive and has a high level of safety. Downlights are the tawdry touchscreen look and those almost invisible indicator flashers in the front. And in Ti spec, it’s not an outrageous hit to the bank balance for what is delivered. Head here to find out more.

 

Tucson’s Fourth Generation Is Ready For The World

As foreshadowed in early September, the drastically facelifted Tucson range was officially unveiled on September 15. Now in its fourth generation, the world platform Hyundai Motor Company Tucson brings a short and long wheelbase to further broaden its already large customer appeal. With a timeline stretching back to 2004, and racking up over seven million sales, the new Tucson brings striking new looks and a solid set of tech.There are new engines including a pair of hybrid drive-lines, with a PHEV being one. This isn’t yet in concrete for Australia.

Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group said at the launch: “We are thrilled to introduce the all-new Tucson, the latest model in Hyundai’s SUV transformation,” said . “This exciting vehicle sets a new benchmark for innovation in its segment, delivering an impressive blend of design, technology, packaging and performance.” The new Tucson is scheduled for Korean release in September 2020, with models yet to be determined currently stated to arrive in Australia in the first half of 2021. The launch itself was held as a virtual event and shown on the company’s new social media outlet, Hyundai TV, a global contents platform and interactive application for Smart TVs.

Design: it’s what Hyundai have labelled their Sensuous Sportiness idenity. Standing front and centre, literally in this case, is the dazzling new face of the Tucson, from what is called Parametric Dynamics in Hyundai-speak. The Tucson’s body features a set of geometrically intense lines and the front end is a series of “jewel surface” units which hide the head- and driving lights. When lit, they form a boomerang-like shape that then becomes a grille defining area.
The front guards flare before tapering to a sharp point in the front doors. This draws the eyes towards the rear doors that both flare and bring a trapezoid bulge to the redesigned, twin vertical-single horizontal tail-lights. There is a chrome strip that runs from the wing mirror, following the roofline that terminates in conjunction with the newly designed rear lights, which, like the front, are only visible when lit. A subtle touch is the relocation of the Hyundai logo into the rear glass and a hidden look to the rear wiper.

For the petrol engined versions there will be seven exterior colours: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. In the hybrid range there are White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

Inside: It’s a choice of cloth or leather, black or grey for the trims. The SUV’s interior environments come in black or grey tones in either cloth or leather material. Hyundai have upped the visual ante by redesigning the way the cabin looks, with ambient lighting in the top level models, new screens and a refresh of the seating.

Termed Interspace, Hyundai blends the dash with the doors, there’s a sense of more space, a pair of silver lines mimic those on the roof by running from front to rear, and those ambient lights have 64 varying shades. There are also ten levels of brightness.From the front seats, the view is of a pair of 10.25 inch touchscreens (model dependent) with split-screen navigation ability and voice recognition which can enable the new Multi-Command function that allows customers to “warm-up the car”. This covers the heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers all via a voice command. There is a driver’s display without a binnacle, and a refreshed look to the air-vents. Some models will have 8.0 inch screens with wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus two phones simultaneously. Spread around the cabin is a new range of soft-touch materials that also visually add class. For the second row, a fold and dive mechanism aims for a flatter surface and an increased cargo capacity, now up to 1,095L of space.A service called Hyundai Digital Key enables drivers to use their smartphone to pair to the car and remotely lock/unlock, and start the engine and climate control from up to 27 metres away. A new feature is called car To Home, and this can allow activation, from the vehicle, of connected smart devices at home. Audio comes from multi-speaker systems thanks to Bose (model dependent). For the climate control, Hyundai looked towards the aerospace industry and used certain benchmarks for their direct and indirect ventilation processes and can indicate levels of pollution in real time in the climate control display.Engines: As mentioned, a pair of hybrids with one a PHEV, with a 1.6L engine for either, or a 2.5L direct-injection petrol engine with 141kW and 246Nm driving a slick eight speed auto. The hybrids should punch around 134kW from the petrol engine and combine with the battery for 171kW. Torque will be close to 250Nm from the petrol and offer just under 350Nm combined, and again run an eight speed auto. Hyundai have engineered in their Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that manages valve opening duration for optimal power, efficiency and emissions with minimised compromise.

Vehicles fitted with Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system have an upgrade to the driving modes. Depending of end-market, those vehicles will now have Mud, Snow, Sand along with the previously supported Eco / Comfort / Smart / Sport driving modes.
Safety: Hyundai’s broad-scope SmartSense safety package includes: Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Blind-Spot View Monitor and Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW). There is also Surround View Monitor, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (RPCA), Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA), High Beam Assist (HBA) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Extra technology for safety comes from: Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, and Safe Exit Warning (SEW). Tucson N Line Goes Global: Hyundai’s growing performance arm, N Line, is looking to add an N Line Tucson for the global marketplace at an as yet unspecified date.

Contact your Hyundai dealer for more details.

Kia Confirms Sorento Details For Australia.

Kia has officially unveiled the forthcoming 2021MY Sorento. To be available in a four trim model range and coming with either a 3.5L V6 petrol engine or a refined 2.2L diesel, with an auto for the petrol and a DCT (dual clutch transmission) for the diesel, the Sorento has been sharpened, redesigned, and upgraded across the board. It’s also the first new Kia to be built upon the brand’s ‘N3’ SUV platform.

The four levels are: S, Sport, Sport +, and GT-Line. The petrol engine will drive the front wheels, the diesel will be powering all four corners. The petrol engine will deliver 200kW and 332Nm, with the diesel spinning Kia’s new wet-clutch DCT. Power from the 2.2L engine is 148kW and delivers torque of 440Nm. The engine itself now has a alloy head and this reduces weight by close to 20kg.

Pricing starts from $45,850 RRP and $46,990 drive-away for the 2WD petrol S. The Sport starts from $48,470 RRP and $49,990 drive-away with the Sport+ at $52,850 RRP and $54,390 drive-away. The GT-Line Petrol sees $60,070 RRP and $61,990 drive-away. Premium paint is a $695 option.

For the diesels in the same trim levels, Kia says the S will start from $48,850 RRP and $49,990. The Sport starts at $51,470 RRP and drive-away at $52,990. In Sport+ trim it’s $55,850 RRP and $57,390 drive-away. GT-Line is $63,070 RRP and $64,990 drive-away. To be built at the Hwasung plant in Korea, the Sorento will come with Kia’s 7-Year unlimited kilometre Warranty, 7-Year Capped Price Service, and 7-Year Roadside Assist.“The outgoing Sorento was a game-changer in the Australian market with previously untapped safety and convenience levels in the segment _ and the all-new model continues to take that story forward,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said. “Across the four trim levels we believe the Sorento will meet the needs, and exceed the expectations, of anyone shopping in the seven-seat SUV market.” Mr Meredith said that Sorento’s evolution over the last 18 years echoes that of the Kia brand as a whole. “While the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian body on frame all-terrain vehicle, it quickly evolved into a more luxurious monocoque construction and now, in its fourth generation, Sorento has been transformed into something once again more desirable.”

The exterior design cues start with the signature “tiger grille” and the headlights have a “tiger eye LED DRL. Much like the recently revealed Carnival, lines draw the eye to the headlight design which further creates a tiger face impression. The lower air intake has been revised too, with a more rectangular shape, and again similar to Carnival has wing shaped air curtains to funnel air. Restyled tail lights do away with the formerly horizontally oriented design, and now have a pair of vertically strips with an uppermost angle-forward design that echoes the rear window’s trailing edge.As is common with updates, there has been a change in size. Width is up by 10mm to 1,900mm. Length is up by the same to 4,810mm however the front and rear overhangs have been subtly reduced which makes the Sorento look longer. In between is a wheelbase that’s up by 35mm to 2,815mm.

The new model is 1900mm wide, 10mm wider than the third-generation Sorento. In profile, the proportions of the Sorento are subtly adapted to make it appear longer. The new model is 10mm longer than its predecessor (now 4810mm), yet it features shorter front and rear overhangs. The additional length is found in the wheelbase (a result of the Sorento’s new platform), which has grown by 35mm to 2815mm. The A-pillar has been pushed back by 30mm and leads to a 10mm taller roofline. New styling cues are found with the shark-fin on the C-pillar and the completely redesigned tail lights. The model’s name is emblazoned across the tailgate. Colourwise the new Sorento will offer seven exterior paint finishes with Clear White the standard, plus six Premiums: Mineral Blue (New Colour), Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey, Silky Silver, Aurora Black and Gravity Blue. All trims will have a full-size spare in 17-inch, 18-inch, 19-inch or 20-inch depending on trim level.

The interior also has had the wand waved. The GT-Line will have mood lighting in the door trim and from underneath the dashboard, and will have a pair of digital displays which at 12.3 inch (GT-Line) and 10.25 inch (Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line, 8.0 in S) that will control most of the car’s functions. The layout will provide an almost ultra-widescreen experience. Capacitive touch buttons on the screen sides will provide the control options. Trim materials across the range have been revised with embossed black cloth, leather appointed black cloth and black quilted Nappa leather appointed seats being available depending on the model chosen.Increasing the wheelbase sees cargo and passenger carrying ability increased with 616L growing to 2,011L with all seats folded. With the third row raised there is still 187L available, an increase of 32% compared to the previous model. Controls for the rear seat passengers see a soft touch button to fold the second row. These also have a sliding increase of 45mm for extra access. Third row passengers have an armrest that has increased by 100mm and incorporate a smartphone tray and cupholder.

Ride and handling will be improved in the new 2021 Sorento; the increased wheelbase partners with a 4% tighter bodyshell (made from steel and aluminuim for strength and weight reduction) for increased rigidity and reduced body vibration. Geometry changes to the suspension have increased road-holding and for those that enjoy some off-road action, a new Terrain mode for the diesel engines, operated via a rotary dial in the centre console, provide better traction in Snow, Mud, and Sand.Convenience features include Bluetooth pairing for two phones, three USB ports up front and two for second row passengers (Sport and GT-Line), plus 12V sockets for the third row passengers. Sport+ and GT-Line offer an extra pair of USBs. GT-Line will have a HUD or Head Up Display and a 12 speaker Bose system for pure sounds. The other three models will have six speaker sound.

For safety Kia’s Advanced Driver Assist System, ADAS, includes Kia’s Autonomous Emergency Braking technology with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection. This also detects oncoming traffic when making a turn at a junction. The Sorento is also available with Blind-spot View Monitor (GT-Line only), Surround View Monitor (GT-Line) and Blind-spot Collision-avoid Assist, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Lane Following Assist and Driver Attention Warning. Kia’s ‘level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. LFA operates between speeds of 0 and 180 kph, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Sorento in the centre of its lane.The new Sorento also features a Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) (GT-Line only), and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA). In addition, it is also the first Kia available with the company’s new Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) (GT-Line only), which enables drivers to move their car autonomously out of a front-and-back parking space remotely with their key fob. This is designed to make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car in tight parking spaces or if another driver parks too close to access any of the doors.

RSPA brakes the Sorento automatically if it detects another car, cyclist or pedestrian behind the vehicle or crossing behind it. The Sorento’s Safe Exit Assist feature also prevents rear doors from opening if the vehicle detects a hazard approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or another vehicle. Advanced driver assistance systems with new Remote Smart Parking Assist

There are seven airbags which includes a centre airbag but not a kneebag. There is also Kia’s Multi-collision Brake System, a crash mitigation system that engages the brakes when the system’s airbags have been deployed, further adding safety from other potential impacts.

The 2021 Sorento is available for test drives at Kia dealerships.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L N-Trek: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s Pathfinder with the extra N-Trek equipment list. It adds some visual pizazz to the ST and ST-L specification which are two or all-wheel drive, with ours being the AWD ST-L version.

What Does It Cost?: In standard trim, and in V6 all wheel drive form, the Nissan website lists the standard ST-L V6 AWD spec at $64,111 drive-away. Nissan confirms the price as of September as $59,140 (recommended retail plus on road costs) and the N-Trek as $60,640 (recommended retail plus ORC) for the AWD. Opt for the 2WD version and it’s $55,640 (RRP plus ORC) for the standard and $57,140 (RRP plus ORC) for the N-Trek spec. Check with your dealer for your prices due to differing state charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Nissan’s well proven 3.5L V6 that drinks petrol at a quoted figure of 10.1L/100km on the combined cycle. With 202kW (6,400rpm) and 340Nm of torque on tap at 4,800 driving a CVT and an on-demand AWD system, we saw 12.3L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway drive cycle. The drive system is selectable too, with Auto, a lock for 4×4, or 2WD. Left in Auto it drives the front wheels and splits to the rear as required.On The Outside It’s: Here that the N-Trek specification lies. Our vehicle was in Ivory Pearl, with Caspian Blue, Gun Metallic, Redstone, Brilliant Silver, and Diamond Black the colour options at no extra cost. N-Spec adds blackouts to the body, with a black V-grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror covers, and front and rear garnishes. The alloys are machined and black painted, and 18 inches in diameter. Continental supplies the 255/60 rubber from their CrossContact LX Sport range.

Nissan changed the exterior look some years ago, moving to a more organic looking style, which does a great job of visually minimising the big 5,042mm length. It’s tall and broad too, at 1,793mm and 1,963mm. The rear lights have a hint of Subaru’s older Liberty/Outback wagon, with a distinctive forward pointing V. Up front there’s a somewhat heavy look, with a alloy hued chin splitting the black plastic that runs from front to rear.On The Inside It’s: Showing its age in a couple of key areas. The dash colours and button layouts, plus a smallish 8.0 inch touchscreen look with no visual engagement. There is no DAB, no Android Auto, no Apple CarPlay, no smartphone charge pad. The touchscreen has the standard driver alert safety message but requires a press of the OK section to access the audio or map etc. It doesn’t automatically disengage at all, irrespective of how long it’s left.However, standard leather seats with two-step heating up front, multi-position and lumbar support electrically for the driver, tilt & fold and slide centre row, and pull-strap third row seats go someway to redressing those missing features. Centre row aircon helps for those behind the front seats, and plenty of glass to the sides plus two separate glass roof inserts provide plenty of airy sensation. The second row seats have two levers to provide a fold and slide for a completely flat load area of 2,260 litres from a start point of 461L. That centre row also feels higher than the front.The main control section on the dash is where the Pathfinder’s age is apparent; it’s busy with far too many buttons to take in at a glance. When the Pathfinder powers up and the OK button is pressed, the touchscreen’s default look is a map, and it’s something probably once seen in road map books.

The driver’s info screen is better, if not quite intuitively linked to the tabs on the steering wheel. A small recessed and not especially colourful screen shows the drive mode, economy, driver and car settings etc, but a rocker tab on the tiller that one would reasonably expect to move info around is actually the station selector for the radio.Nissan, though, have hidden away a surprise or two. The touchscreen has an apps button, and this takes you through to driver oriented info such as a G-meter, fuel flow and consumption, compass and steering orientation. It’s an odd thing given what is missing, but no less odd than having a 13 speaker premium soundsystem but no digital audio…

A CD player is fitted for those that do like their digital sounds and Bluetooth phone connection with voice recognition add some extra tech. Four 12V sockets are onboard, with three up front. The centre row faces the third zone aircon controls and a pair of USB ports.Forward vision is very good except for the 10 and 2 from the driver’s seat. The A-pillars are on the thick side and provide a blind spot that on some intersections blanked off traffic.

On The Road It’s: A rolling definition of a mixed bag. The V6 is a free revver and when spun in anger emits a decently rorty tune. The CVT is never truly terrible but there’s a sense it holds back the engine’s willingness. Off the line acceleration is ok in the sense that ok is quick enough but could be better. Underway it purrs along quietly and the CVT is geared to see under 2,000rpm at highway speeds. The ratio changes are noticeable but not excessive in their obtrusiveness to the way the Pathfinder feels whilst underway, and the CVT kicks down readily when required. There’s no manual shift option but a Sport mode, via a press button on the drive lever, is available. For the most part it’s superfluous.There’s a truly odd sense to the way the steering feels too. There’s an underlying sense of weight from torque steer, especially at parking speeds, but the steering is in need of constant attention, requiring hands-on 100% of the time. This brings, then, a sense of lightness in a truly odd contrast to that torque-steer heft. For all that, it’s by no means a hard car to steer.

Ride quality hovers somewhere around good; it’s supple enough, reasonably well tied down, but does exhibit some float at the top end of the suspension travel. It stands out by doing what it’s supposed to do but it does lack that sharpness, that crispness, as found in its competition.Most road surfaces are levelled out, sketchy surfaces tend not to duly trouble it. Perhaps some of that lack of sharpness is down to the near two tonnes (dry) mass the multi-link rear and strut front suspension deals with. By the way, it’s not intended to be anything other than a gentle soft-roader, with just 180mm of clearance underneath.

What About Safety?: There is a 360 degree camera system, for starters, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and six airbags. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Tyre Pressure Monitoring are also standard. Just in case, there is also second and third row occupant warnings and reminders. Rear sensors are standard, yet no front sensors are fitted.

What About Service And Warranty?: Five years, unlimited kilometres, and capped price servicing. It’s a 12 month or 10,000 kilometre cycle, with costs being $290 for the first service, $309 for the next, $458 for the third, $367 for the fourth, $314 for the fifth and $502 for the sixth.

At The End Of The Drive. The extra visuals from adding N-Trek aren’t quite enough to overcome the age of the Pathfinder, with the cluttered dash and lack of now commonly accepted features (smartapps, front sensors, for example) adding to the ticks lost collection. On the plus side is the reasonably neutral ride, the flexibility of the seating, and the seven seats themselves. It’s absolutely a family oriented, and family friendly, machine, but an update to bring it closer to its immediate competition. That’s longhand for “needs to get closer to the Koreans”.

Otherwise there are a few from Europe and a couple from Japan that can be compared, both favourably and non. From our point of view, the Pathfinder isn’t quite the winner but it’s not quite the loser. Drive one yourself at your Nissan dealership and check out the ST-L here.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Active-X Diesel: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The newly added, to the Santa Fe range, Active-X trim level. It brings the Santa Fe into line with its smaller sibling, Tucson. There’s one transmission, two engines, and four trim levels now, being Active, Active-X, Elite, and Highlander.

How Much Does It Cost?: It’s a bit more than expected, at $47,020 plus on-road costs for the petrol fed 3.5L V6, and $50,050 plus on-road costs for the 2.2L diesel. That’s a increase of $3,030 compared to the Active but $5,050 cheaper than the mid-range Elite.

Under The Bonnet Is: Hyundai’s familiar 2.2L oiler, driving the front and rear wheels via a mostly on-song eight speed auto. 147kW is the peak power, however the numbers to look at are 440Nm from that comparatively small engine. Compare that to the 336Nm at higher revs inside the 3.5L petrol V6 and immediately there’s a sense of why the diesel is, on paper, a better choice.The diesel has a starting weight of close to 2,000 kilos yet returns an economy figure of 8.6L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway test. Hyundai quote 9.9L/100km for the urban cycle and 7.5L/100km on the combined from the 71.0L tank. Towing is rated at 2,000 kilos braked.

On The Inside It’s: A seven seater with the delightfully easy pull-strap system for the third row. The driver’s seat is manual lever arch in movement, not powered. For the Active-X, the extra trim means leather bolstering for the seats with black or dark beige being available. There is privacy glass at the rear. Being a Santa Fe, interior room is no issue. There is 995mm of head room for the centre folding row and 917mm for the third row. Leg room is 1,048mm to 1,120mm up front, and a whopping 1,001mm for the centre. The rear has 741mm. These are courtesy of the wheelbase of 2,765mm. 547L to 1,625L is the cargo space available. Thankfully, Hyundai fit a full sized spare wheel too.There is no DAB nor satnav natively, relying on smartphone connectivity to provide those. However a nice touch is the vented glove-box, rain sensing wipers, push button start, and auto headlights. The dash itself is a pair of deep scallops with a switchable binnacle design for right and land hand drive markets and this sits above a dark grey, diamond shape embossed, strip that runs from either side. There’s soft touch material for the rook lining and pillars. the front seats have seat pockets for the centre row passengers, who also gain a pair of charging sockets and airvents, including a roof mounted outlet.On The Outside It’s: Got a satin chrome finish to the door handles, courtesy light at night, and 10 spoke, dual blade, turbine style wheels of 18 inches in diameter. Hankook supplies the rubber at 235/60 from their Ventus range. Folding mirrors hide puddle lamps as well. The exterior is now around two years old, with the eyebrow LED driving lights that many people believe are headlights and use them that way at night. The actual headlights have been dropped further down to bracket the Hyundai grille in their own recessed section. A strong feature line joins the upper edge of the driving lights with the tail lights. Indicators here are down in the lower bumper rather than at a safer, eye-height level inside the tail lights.What About Safety?: It is typical Hyundai, meaning there is virtually nothing missing. Under their SmartSense banner, the Santa Fe Active-X has forward collision avoidance and autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot assist, driver attention warning, high beam assist, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, rear occupant alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop-go. So if you manage to crash this you’ve stamped yourself as special, and not in a good sense. There is also a rear view camera with guidelines on the screen, tyre pressuring monitoring (across the range) and six airbags.What About Warranty And Servicing?: Warranty is standard at five years and unlimited kilometres. Servicing is variable and comes under a couple of options.

On The Road It’s: Mostly benign and easy to drive. The torque of the 2.2L is light-switch variable from a standing start, and requires both a gentle foot and an understanding of how some engines go from mild to wild. That peak torque is available between 1,750 to 2,750 rpm and it comes into play very quickly. What this means is a gentle squeeze of the go-pedal is required, otherwise it’s the more typical, and still annoying, deep breath then kapow as the torque suddenly arrives, rather than a more linear delivery. That’s the bad news.

Otherwise it’s as easy to drive as can be imagined. The eight speed auto surges, or “flares” in conjunction with the engine revs initially but is otherwise fluid, smooth, quick to react. the engine is a free-revver, allowing for bare flexing of the right ankle to see overtaking done easily, or simply waft along in relative quiet. Rolling acceleration is pin your ears back quick too, with the eight speed auto silently responding to the demand and dropping down through the cogs easily before climbing back up with the same sense of quiet.

Steering can feel heavy, which is strange given it’s quick in having just 2.5 turns from lock to lock. Heavy, though, only at very low speeds; get the Santa fe Active-X up and running and it lightens up slightly, with still a sense of weight in the effort.

Naturally there are drive modes and we drove ours mostly in Smart, the learning mode that adapts the transmission and engine package to suit the driving style. Otherwise there are also Sport, Comfort, Eco, which are preprogrammed and can be very handy depending on the intended drive route. The suspension itself seems more attuned to Sport with the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear feeling quite taut. It easily absorbs the smaller yumps and bumps before tightening up, decreasing rebound and floatiness.The brakes bite well however the vented front discs are just 320mm. This brings in that fine line of measuring the speed against the rate of slowing, as more than once the brain said the effort was spot on yet the gap to the vehicle in front was closing quicker than expected.

At The End Of the Drive. The Active-X is that ideal gap-filler and also adds extra appeal to the Santa Fe. The spec level seems to fit the younger family that are tech-savvy by using teh smartphone compatibility for audio and navigation, but not necessarily chasing some of the upper luxury features. By having the seven seats, with the completely flat folding third row, it provides them that flexibility for the family as well.

 

Isuzu D-Max: Reborn And Ready For 2021.

It’s been a long time coming, a decade or so, in fact. Isuzu’s durable D-Max has received its long overdue overhaul, and from the information released, it’s in a real position to take on Toyota’s recently revamped HiLux and Ford’s strong performing Ranger.

Range: There are 20 variants, starting with the D-MAX SX Single Cab Chassis 4×2 high-ride. D-MAX SX Space Cab Chassis/Ute, D-MAX SX Crew Cab Chassis/Ute follow from this. D-MAX LS-M Crew Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Space Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Crew Cab Ute, and D-MAX X-Terrain round out the list.

Engine. All models will have the same “4JJ3-TCX” 3.0L turbo-diesel. Power is upped to 140kW, and torque a very handy 450Nm between 1,600 to 2,600rpm. 400Nm is available through a broader range of 1,400 to 3,250rpm. At 1,000rpm 300Nm is available, making driving a breeze. Transmissions are a six speed manual or auto. Economy for the combined cycles, depending on the model chosen, is quoted as 7.7L to 8.0L/100km.

It’s virtually a new block. There’s a new cylinder head, aluminuim pistons, and a new crankshaft. A revised turbo, with a quicker response time, is fed though a new intake system, with delivery now improved through a new high-pressure direct injection fuel system. Pressure gets up to 250MPa, which finely atomises the fuel thanks to a new set of high efficiency injectors. The turbo is electronically controlled and has Variable Geometry Control. Isuzu’s tried and proven Diesel Particulate Diffuser (DPD) is located on the rear of the VGS Turbocharger and has been further revised to increase efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Inside are aluminuim pistons and crowns, with the piston skirts and gudgeon pin having a coating that is as strong as diamond and drastically reduces friction as well. They’re kept in time thanks to a new stainless steel timing chain. Weighing in at a svelte 8.6kg is a new exhaust system including muffler, for a weight savings of 26% over the outgoing model.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX Diesel

Improvements, too, for the transmissions. The manual selection lever now has a “pull ring” for the reverse gear with the auto now gaining a Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) warmer and cooler system for swifter transitions in reaching the right operating temperatures. 4×4 models receive a new electronic actuator for transitioning from two to four wheel drive, at velocities of up to 100kph, in under a second. Weight reduction happens with the tailshaft, with a one piece aluminuim unit replacing the heavier all-steel unit.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Cabin. Interior trims depend on the model, with the LS-M, for example, having the ever popular “hose out” flooring. The LS-U upwards has carpet floors, and a 9.0 inch infotainment screen, up from the 7.0 inch in lower specced models, however all variants do get digital audio. Top spec X-Terrain has an eight way adjustable powered driver’s seat.

Safety is a solid improvement across the board, with Isuzu slotting in their IDAS, the Intelligent Driver Assistance System with all variants being fitted with a Hitachi stereo camera system that Isuzu says: “it can precisely detect and measure distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles around the D-MAX. ” The system comes with a TSR setup, or Traffic Sign Recognition which has been tuned for Australian conditions. It works side-by-side with the Intelligent Speed Limiter, which if or when it reads a sign for a lower limit will automatically apply a speed reduction regime.

Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Assist are standard, as is Turn Assist. This works like AEB if the sensors detect the D-Max turning across the path of other traffic. Adaptive Cruise Control is also standard, as are eight airbags, including a driver’s and centre kneebag.

Auto-on headlights and auto-wipers are range standard, with auto dimming. The SX features conventional halogen globes, with the LS and X-Terrain having crisp bi-LED self-leveling headlamps. The pair also receive integrated LED foglamps and are paired with the turn indicator lights.

A category-rare feature is the installation of the Intuitive Flat Wiper Blades. These combine the wiper fluid dispersion system in the arms along the blades, for a quicker and more efficient clean. A new design, too, for the blades, being a more aerodynamic shape, and there is also a motor that flexes the blades periodically to dislodge accumulated dirt. These will be available on the LS-U and X-Terrain models.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

The exterior changes are a noticeable refinement of the front end. It’s familiar yet different with a nod towards the brand’s commercial vehicle history thanks to the horizontal bars in the restyled grille. The bodywork has an assertive style with bulges on the front and rear wheel wells, a Superman-tough chin, and changes to airflow that result in a 3% reduction in drag. A broad colour palette is available to highlight the exterior changes and include: Mineral White, Basalt Black mica, Cobalt Blue mica, Mercury Silver metallic, Obsidian Grey metallic, Marble White pearl (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Magnetic Red mica (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Volcanic Amber metallic (X-TERRAIN exclusive).

Isuzu have backed up the new D-Max with a comprehensive warranty package called Service Plus 6-7-7. There is 6 years (or 150,000 kilometres), 7 years roadside assistance when serviced at Isuzu dealers, and 7 years capped price servicing. This lays out a full cost over those seven years of $3,373 with a maximum cost of $749 at the 90,000 kilometre mark.

Pricing starts from $32,200 for the 4×2 single cab chassis 2WD manual SX, with the 4×4 version starting from $40,200. the LS-M Crew Cab ute manual starts from $51,000 with the range topper X-Terrain at $62,900. Prices are manufacturers recommended price, with a on-sale date of September 1, 2020.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

 

 

October Releases For Mazda BT-50 & BMW 4 Series.

Mazda’s completely overhauled their BT-50 ute and announced that sales will commence from October of 2020. Gone is the sharp and angular nose that featured and replaced with the family look that covers the brand’s SUVs. Mazda’s designers embody their vehicles with a language they call “Kodo” and this is now on the BT-50.

This features a three dimensional wing styling when viewed from the front, and there are striking

crease lines that sweep from the grille and headlights through to the wing mirrors. From the top, a line runs directly through the centre from nose to tail. The restyled bonnet covers a 3.0L diesel with 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Better economy comes from a weight reduction regime, whilst that torque enables a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and a payload of over a tonne.

Head inside and the cabin also has been refreshed, with a more family oriented feel for this commercially aimed vehicle. The seats have a higher level of support, crucial given the 4×4 capability of the BT-50, and the steering column is now telescopic as well for extra versatility. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now feature in the enlarged touchscreen. Safety features have improved too, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard.

Colour choices now include Gunblue Mica and Concrete Grey Mica. The blue has a deep lustre in some areas that contrast with lighter shades in the light, with the grey giving an industrial feel.

Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

October also sees BMW’s new 4 Series coupe ready for showrooms. It’s been stretched in three dimensions, had the suspension reviewed and revised, and is also slipperier through the air than the previous model.

Behind the restyled nostril grilles lie a pair of torquey 2.0L four cylinder petrol engines for the 420i and 430i models, delivering 135kW/300Nm and 190kW/400Nm respectively, and a six cylinder unit for the M440i xDrive that develops 285kW/500Nm. Transmission is an eight speed Steptronic.

Dimensional changes see the 4 Series Coupe lengthen by 130 millimetres and width increase by 27mm, and wheelbase has gone out to 41mm, to see a total length of 4,768mm, width of 1,852mm and a wheelbase of 2,851mm.

The interior has been revamped with a M-Leather steering wheel, acoustic glass for the windscreen, and a twin-screen layout for the driver and infotainment. This is the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, with a 10.25 inch control screen and a 12.3 inch driver’s display screen. A 4G SIM card allows for on-the-go access to the BMW Connected Package Professional. This allows the usage of digital services such as the BMW TeleServices and Intelligent Emergency Call,plus provides Real Time Traffic Information with hazard warning, Remote Services and Concierge Services. BMW have engineered in genuine flexibility here, with controls for the information activated via (and depending on the respective content) the iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons, voice control or BMW’s innovative gesture control.

Underneath the 4 Series lies, as standard, the standard M Sport suspension. Specifically for the 4 Series their is specially tuned lift related dampers. The Adaptive M Suspension can specified as part of an option pack.

Pricing starts from $70,900 (manufacturer’s recommended list price) for the 420i, $88,900 for the 430i, and a hefty $116,900 for the top of the range M440i xDrive

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A car that embodies every male stereotype when it comes to cars. Brawny, hairy chested, muscle-laden etc thanks to the powerplant and exhaust notes. There are a staggering eight variants of the Grand Cherokee and the SRT is the second from the top behind the slightly harder edged Trackhawk.

How Much Does It Cost?: List prices is $92,450 plus on road costs. Premium paint, such as the Diamond Black Crystal on our review vehicle, is $895. Using the Jeep website, it comes up with a drive-away price of $98,343.Under The Bonnet Is: 6.4L of pure joy. It’s the Hemi V8, one step down from the supercharged 6.2L V8 fitted to the Trackhawk. Running on 98 RON, it produces 344kW and 624Nm of torque at 4,100rpm. But there is a price to pay for that sheer exuberance. Our best economy figure was 12.3L/100km and that on a gentle highway run with a maximum speed of 80kph. The overall average was closer to 16.0L/100km from a 93.0L tank.

Jeep themselves quote 20.7L/100km on the urban cycle, 10.1L/100km for the highway, and 14.0/100km for the combined. the engine has fuel saving technology, effectively running as a V4 on cruise mode.

The transmission here is an eight speed auto, and apart from some staggering when cold, is as good an eight speed auto as you can get. It’s well ratioed to take advantage of the torque, and a 4.9 second sprint to 100kmh backs that up. There is launch control fitted and this dials the engine up to 1,800rpm before flinging the 2,289kg (dry) SRT to the horizon.On The Inside It’s: Packed with the bits and bobs you’d expect from a near $100K machine. There’s carbon-fibre look trim that spreads from door to door, stitched leather look trim on the dash, heated and vented seats, a heated steering wheel, aircon and USB ports for the second row seats, and a thumping Harman Kardon audio system. Front and centre is the UConnect infotainment system that doubles up on some areas with hard press buttons. It’s also home to the drive mode settings that are access from the centre console. There is a dial that provide easy access to the varying programs however it’s the 8.0 inch screen that shows the Street/Sport/Track modes for the engine, suspension, steering, and others, allowing personalisation across the board, so a driver can have Street steering, Sport suspension, and Track transmission.The seats are leather trimmed with the centre section a suede material. It’s immediately a warmer feel to the touch and for cold areas it saves that initial unwelcome cold thrill. The seats do warm quickly, as does the tiller, when activated. The centre console cup holders have blue LED lighting, and a nice convenient feature is the powered steering column. Up front is a 12V socket (one for the rear in the cargo bay) and a pair of USBs. These are hidden under a soft-touch door that’s the same alloy look material as the console.In front of the driver is a full colour LCD screen and Jeep have cleverly sectioned it off to display different kinds of information. The centre is the main dial for the rev counter and displays the launch control information. The left side shows the screen selected info graphic, the right the driven gear, top left the expected range and top right the temperature and more drive mode info. It’s a clever look and most effective, as it directs the driver’s eyes to the important info. Unusually, indication and wipers are on the same stalk, not a left and right lever setup Design wise the dash look is also easy on the eye, and the elegant “W” shape to the actual dash envelopes both front seat passengers.The second row passengers have plenty of room for legs, head, and shoulder, and having independent vents plus their own pair of USB ports emphasises the family friendly aspect of the Grand Cherokee SRT. There’s plenty of cargo space as well, 782L, with access via the standard powered tailgate. Jeep also fit a full sized spare here, thankfully. Oddly, the switch to lower the tailgate isn’t on the base of the door, like everyone else, it’s on the inside left. What this means is that any person pressing that needs to be quick to move out of the way.On The Outside It’s: Big, blocky, and imposing in the black over black colour scheme fitted. The badges are blacked out, the 295/45/20 Pirelli P-Zero rubber wrap blacked alloys, and at 4,846mm in length, it’s up there as one of the bigger SUVs. Having a height of 1,749mm means it stands tall against many and also means stepping into the Grand Cherokee SRT is easy. Wide opening doors also assist here.The bonnet has vents, nostrils, if you like. Unlike nearly everyone else, they’re functional, not merely a plastic garnish. This helps the big engine breathe at speed. The major design look hasn’t really changed in a few years so there are the same slimline headlights with integrated LED indicators, which dim the headlight running lights when activated. Underneath are a pair of LED cornering lamps.On The Road It’s: Largely dependent on which drive mode is selected. Street has a soft suspension feel, and the mass of the Grand Cherokee SRT becomes noticeable. There’s more body movement and at times it was a little stomach-queasy. Latch onto the Sport mode and immediately the big machine settles down, becomes more stable, and feels more controllable via the right foot.

That right foot is also responsible for the volume of the twin exhausts. It’s a muted, distant, rumble from start-up, although with an initial bark. Gentle driving has that subterranean rumble a constant, and it’s when the right ankle flexes in anger, that noise increases in volume and note, changing from that rumble to a full on fight between two lions. There’s a truly astounding feeling experienced as the pitch vibrates the rib cage, whilst simultaneously pinning the body back into the seats. Even with the windows up there is some serious pounding on the ears, and this brings in the hard edged snarl as revs climb.The steering wheel is on the large side, not just in the heft of the wheel but the diameter. It brings a bus-like feel to how the Grand Cherokee SRT is steered, with a more bent armed stance. It’s not uncomfortable but neither is it right for a longer armed sporting drive. This is important as the big tyres would tramline noticeably at times, with the wheel needing constant driver attention to overcome the pull of the rubber on the road.Having a variable suspension made testing them interesting. One long and flat road was home to the changes and it became obvious that the settings will appeal to different driver styles. As mentioned, Street came across as a softer and wallowy style, Sport noticeably tighter and overall our pick. Track goes tighter still and then becomes too jittery, too jarring, even on a relatively flat road. Of course, the name itself strongly hints at where its intended environment lays.Big Brembos haul down the SRT easily, and without fade constantly. The pedal has a light feel to start and progressively feels heavier as the pedal travel increases. Transmission wise, there is the SelecTrack off-road capability however there is no two speed transfer case in deference to its more tarmac oriented engineering.

Economy wise, it can be driven to a limit. On our return journey, the estimated range was 95km. The trip distance is 75km. We arrived at the changeover point with 90km expected range left and an economy of 15.6km/100km…What About Safety?: Jeep has ensured that the range lacks for nothing. Only the entry level model, Night Eagle, misses out on a driver’s kneebag, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross path (Traffic) Detection. In a driving sense, the Night Eagle also misses out on the Adaptive Cruise Control. Otherwise, the range, including the SRT gets the full kit of safety features which includes Trailer Sway Control and Rain Brake Support.

What About Warranty And Service?: Five years or 100,000 kilometres with a 12,000 kilometres or 12 month service cycle. Capped priced servicing is $399. Roadside assistance is now standard for the lifetime of the warranty.

At The End of The Drive. Jeep is undergoing a transformation, with a recognition of issues when it comes to customer service. We’ve been on the receiving end of nothing but marvellous service due to two previous review vehicles suffering serious issues.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT exhibited no issues at all. You’d expect that for a vehicle price knocking on $100K. It’s a product for a certain market, and the SRT’s heart is that big V8. It’s both the appeal and the letdown. The appeal because it’s so much fun to listen to, to experience the sheer urge and exuberance of that Hemi. The letdown is simple; that enjoyment is at a price, being how quickly the 6.4L engine can drain the tank.

However that engine shutdown feature can assist and hopefully at another time a proper highway cycle run can be driven, but we did see just how relatively efficient gentle driving could be.

The Grand Cherokee range can be explored here.

‘Automotive Mana’ and 2020 Dual-Cab Utes

The rise of the SUV is a noted phenomenon, but an equal marvel is the greater numbers of large dual-cab utes on our roads.  The popularity of the dual-cab ute in Australia shows a trend that ain’t about to end just yet.  On any given day if you take a drive down a popular road in Australia you’re sure to come across some pretty awesome super-size pick-ups.  So what makes these vehicles so attractive? And what are the better dual-cab utes one can buy?  Let’s have a look.

Let’s ‘cut to the chase’ and quickly realise that a large number of the dual-cab utes we see are driven by people with bigger egos.  To use the Maori definition ‘Mana’ offers a politer label to go with the big ute ego.  ‘Mana” means to have great authority, presence or prestige, and so if you are seen driving these massive utes, you’re likely to satisfy your larger ego with some real ‘Automotive Mana’ and add mud plugging tyres, a raised suspension, tinted windows, a snorkel and spot lights, too.  Any big ute name like Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger or Mitsubishi Triton can have their utes equipped with these big ticket items.

Of course, if your work requires your need to own a big, beefy dual cab ute, then all the showy looks can be forgiven. Builders, landscapers, boat builders, contractors, farmers, engineers, they all need one!  But hey, we’d all love one!

This leads me on to what makes these road behemoths so nice to own and drive.  Here’s a short list of their great traits:

  • Load carrying ability
  • Towing ability
  • Space
  • Comfort
  • Off-roading ability
  • They’re built tough
  • They’re safe
  • Automotive Mana

Here are the best new Dual-Cab utes you can buy in 2020 that offer all the bells and whistles (Note there are other models in their line-up, but these would generally be more Spartan).  All of the following models come with premium safety, 4WD capability, big towing prowess and premium luxury:

Ford Ranger: XLT, Wildtrak, Raptor, ($57–$77k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 157 kW and 500 Nm, 10-speed automatic, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

SsangYong Musso: Ultimate XLV, Ultimate Plus XLV, ($40-$44k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 420 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Toyota Hilux: SR5, Rugged, Rugged X, Rogue, ($56–$63k)

  • 2.8 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 420 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 450 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 11 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Nissan Navara: ST-X, N-Trek, N-Trek Warrior, ($54–$66k)

  • 2.3 litre TurboDiesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm, 6-speed manual and 7-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 6.5–7.0 litres/100 km

Ram 1500: Express, Laramie, ($90–$100k)

  • 5.7 litre Petrol V8 with 291 kW and 556 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 7 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10–13 litres/100 km

Ram 2500: ($140k)

  • 6.7 litre TurboDiesel with 276 kW and 1084 Nm, 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 15 litres/100 km

VW Amarok: TDI420 Core Plus, Highline 550, Ultimate 580, ($52–$73k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 132 kW and 400 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 420 Nm with the 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 7.5 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 165 kW and 500 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 190 kW and 580 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Mitsubishi Triton: GLX+, GLS, GLS Premium, GSR, ($41–$52k)

  • 2.4 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Mazda BT-50: XTR, GT, Boss, ($53–$64k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10 litres/100 km

Holden Colorado: LSX, LTZ, LTZ+, Z71, ($50–$58k)

  • 2.8-litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 440 Nm with the 5-speed manual, with 147 kW and 500 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

HSV Silverado: 1500 LTZ Premium Ed. ($114k)

  • 6.2 litre Petrol V8 with 313 kW and 624 Nm, 10-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 5.6 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12.5 litres/100 km

Isuzu D-Max: LSU, LST, ($49–$55k)

  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Jeep Gladiator: Overland, Rubicon, ($76–$77k)

  • 3.6 litre Petrol V6 with 209 kW and 347 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12 litres/100 km

Just for complete ‘Automotive Mana’ status, top honours would have to go to the Ram, HSV or Jeep Gladiator.

Honda CR-V Gets Ready For 2021.

Honda Australia is set to give their popular CR-V SUV range a major boost. The 2021 MY is on the way and has new styling, upgraded equipment, and extra features including Honda Sensing as standard on all variants powered by the 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo engine. The range will be mainly a five seater with two seven seaters available.The range will see upgrades such as a hands-free tailgate, wireless smartphone charge pads in some models, whilst dual zone aircon and smart-apps inside a 7.0 inch touchscreen will be standard.

Honda Sensing is the name given to the safety and driver-assist package, and it will be standard for all but the Vi, covering the two seven seat versions as well. “The inclusion of Honda Sensing as standard equipment on all CR-V grades with the 1.5-litre turbo engine, represents another step in our plan to introduce the latest intelligent driver-assist and active safety technologies right across the Honda vehicle range,” said Honda Australia Director, Mr. Stephen Collins. “By early next year, almost 70 per cent of our vehicles will feature Honda Sensing, reflecting our ongoing commitment to support the safe and comfortable driving of our customers.”Thew forthcoming CR-V brings a new method of naming the range. Honda says it will help new customers and returning clients follow the differences in model trim. The T denotes the model with a turbo engine (in essence, all but the entry level) with the new grade names for the updated CR-V range are based around the “V”: Vi, VTi, VTi X, VTi L AWD, and VTi LX AWD. These will be in a five seater configuration, with two seven seaters named VTi 7 and VTi L7.

The changes outside bring, says Honda, “a more upscale and distinctive presence”. The bumpers have been redesigned and have different accents in silver or grey depending on the model. The grille is blacked out, and the rear light lenses have been tinted for a classier look. VTi X, VTi L AWD and VTi 7 seater will have a new 18 inch alloy and the VTi LX AWD has a bespoke 19 inch in a light grey. Colourwise two new paints have been added, with a metallic Cosmic Blue and the hero colour Ignite Red. These are in addition to the existing Platinum White pearlescent, Lunar Silver metallic, Brilliant Sporty Blue metallic, Modern Steel metallic and Crystal Black pearlescent with all pearl and metallics available as a no-cost option.

For the organic components of the CR-V, they’ll have a redesigned centre console with better storage capacity and easier access to the USB ports. The VTi L7 and LX AWD will receive the charge pads. Leather trimmed seats will grace the VTi L AWD and will also be heated and power adjustable.Pricing is competitive considering the range of models. The Vi starts off at $30,490 and has a 2.0L VTEC non-turbo engine. The VTi starts the 1.5L VTEC turbo availability and has a MLP (Manufacturer’s List Price) of $33,490. The VTi 7 starts from $35,490, with the VTi X just $500 more. VTi L AWD starts from $40,490, and the VTiL 7 $43,490. The AWD VTi LX starts from $47,490.

The ETA for the 2021 CR-V is from September onwards.